Weeksville History

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In the city of Brooklyn, New York stands a memorial, one of the most unknown historical places in the Borough, The Weeksville Heritage Center. This is the quintessential story of black history, one of our greatest achievements, never to have been given credit for.

Before, what we know now as Bedford Stuyvesant was originally called Weeksville, a town born from the sweat and blood of a former slave by the name of James Weeks. After slavery, Mr. Weeks worked as a longshoreman for many years, at what we know now as the South Street Seaport, saving all his earnings. In the year of 1838, he purchased a substantial amount of land from another former slave at the price of $1500 and began the genesis of creating the first ever self-efficient black owned community. The main reason Mr. Weeks purchased this land was due to the fact that for one to vote, you needed to be a citizen and own property worth no less than $250. Weeksville contained schools, churches, elderly homes, hospitals, orphanages, social organizations and had its own newspaper called “The Freemans Torchlight”. Weeksville was believed to be one of the stops on the Underground Railroad. Due to the fact that
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Therefore, it was a pretty substantial plot size of land. If we were to research the exact area that was purchased by James Weeks, we would find that a lot of the existing structures existed during that time. Be it a school, church, hospital, library, apartment buildings or even grocery stores were all the stomping grounds of Weeksville. It was a safe haven for those who were trying to avoid the draft or the riots of 1863. The town was home to many black abolitionist leaders like Dr. Susan Smith McKinney, who was the state’s first African American female doctor and it was also home to the first New York City African American Police
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